District 9705 - April 2021 Newsletter
District Governor's Message
At the Mt Panorama Motor Museum in Bathurst, - DG Michael Moore, Rob Uhl and 2 of the recently returned Youth Exchange students, Saxon Perry and Theo Hearder

Conference culmination of two Districts

The Rotary District 9705 Conference in Bathurst marked the culmination of so much work by so many Rotarians to have two former Districts working as one. The success of the conference may be attributed not just to the overall organiser, Phil Byrne OAM, and on the ground in Bathurst coordinator, Doug Kinlyside, along with their teams, but to all of those who have played a role in “opening opportunities” to ensure the successful establishment of one of two mega Districts within Australia. (The other mega District is 9510 in South Australia under the leadership of DG David Jones which borders our District to the west).

Having started the year with a goal of ensuring that District 9705 Rotarians accept their new status as a single District and work together to “do good in the world”, it was pleasing to see the turn out in Bathurst and the engagement of Rotarians with each other and with the program. My thanks really do go out to all who were involved. It was exciting to have well over three hundred in attendance and at one stage to have another 1700 participating online. Our District was very fortunate as many Districts in our Zone and internationally have either opted or been forced to postpone, cancel or manage with virtual conferences.

College of Governors

The weekend started with a meeting of Past District Governors who, with the current “G-train” (DG, DGE, DGN, DGN designate), form the college of governors. PDG Bob Greeney has taken leadership and, in this case, was ably supported by PDG Irene Jones in organising a brilliant meeting at Abercrombie House on Friday afternoon preceding the conference. The afternoon tea allowed renewal of old acquaintance, meeting PDGs from the alternative District and reflections on where we have been and what the future might hold for Rotary.

The Social Side

Our evening BBQ thanks to the combined Rotary Clubs of Bathurst was a great success. The event included a visit to the Bathurst Motor Racing Museum and some lucky raffle prize winners were taken for a few laps of the race course in a mid-1960s Ford Falcon GTHO. The manager, Brad, was also kind enough to take the returned Rotary Exchange Students (with Rob Uhl as chaperon) for a couple of laps. Throughout the weekend Rotarians were able to engage in so many ways. The dinner was probably the best opportunity for catching up with old friends and making new ones.

Our entertainment, engagement and enjoyment was enhanced by the work of Anton Pemmer as Master of Ceremonies who kept us in line for the two days and the very enjoyable Saturday night dinner. The singing topped off the wonderful speaker, great food and venue.  Our thanks to the BMEC team for looking after us so well.

The Speakers

Our dinner speaker was both entertaining and informative. Prof Robert Booy picked up on the healthier community and environment theme that was the hallmark of the conference and infused his talk with a great sense of humour. He followed on from such a run of great speakers commencing with our Australia and New Zealand Rotary International Director-elect, Dr Jessie Harman. Jessie remained with us throughout the conference and shared her broad knowledge and deep understanding of Rotary – and particularly of the place of women in Rotary and as leaders generally.

We were disappointed that our keynote speaker, Shane Fitzsimmons, had responsibilities because of the NSW floods and could not make the occasion. Rotarians understood and were pleased he was on the frontline once again.

Other speakers such as Fiona Nash built on the importance of women in Rotary and as leaders generally. With the introduction at the start of this Rotary year of the seventh area of focus for Rotary – “supporting the environment” we were able to get a better understanding thanks to the chairmanship of PDG David Brawn and speakers Justin Borevitz, Lesley Hughes and Tracy Sorensen. Tracy has followed up with a great article about Rotary environmental engagement that has been published in the Western Advocate).

The Royce Abbey Peace Oration, by Adjunct Professor John Skerritt, reminded us all of the importance of being aware of all of our neighbours. The impact of pandemics on peace and stability was a key element of the oration that explored a wide range of issues fundamental to peace. By Sunday morning the conference heard from Admiral Chris Barrie and ACT Emergency Services Commissioner, Georgina Whelan. Both speakers were moving and reminded us, inter alia, of the importance of trauma and understanding post-traumatic stress and the impact it has on the lives of individuals and their families.

Clubs telling their stories

A highlight of Rotary Conferences is understanding what other clubs are doing and being part of celebrating the contributions of your own clubs. Youth Exchange was highlighted with a difference this year. As we have no current exchange students, we were delighted to hear from returning exchange students, Theo, Siobhan and Saxon about what they had to deal with and how much they had learned in a year dominated by the pandemic.

Examples of outstanding club contributions were presented – but all recognised that these were just the tip of the iceberg compared to the work being done by more than 80 clubs and Rotaract Clubs across our District. Project included local, national and international efforts.

A focus on drought and bushfire recovery was important for all Rotarians. However, broader issues such as the medical needs of impoverished families, local assistance and vulnerable youth and wheelchair soccer were also featured.

A Chance for a better understanding of Rotary

I encourage all Rotarians to attend one of the District Assembly/Development days to be held in Young on Saturday May 15 with an alternative to be held on the South Coast – perhaps near Broulee (although date/venue have not year been finalised). You will hear more shortly. This really is a great opportunity to learn more about your District, Rotary, the various roles you can play and how you can be more involved in your area.


District 9705 is underway. With Leo Farrelly, Geraldine Rurenga and Andrea Grosvenor already engaging in working out how to ensure clubs can benefit from the larger district, there is no doubt that we are in good hands. For all of those people who have put up their hands to be part of the launch of the new District 9705, from inception until now, my sincere thanks. It is great to see your work come to fruition.

Conference Summary by One Attendee
Some Key Points From The Rotary District 9705 Conference Bathurst 19-21 March 2021
Helpful Personal Summary Report From One Appreciative Attendee - Peter Keith President Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga Kooringal  22/3/21
    Humanity in Action
    Celebrating 100 Years of Rotary in Australia and our near island neighbors
    After a seven year gestation period, a book to mark the Centenary of Rotary in Australia is now available for order.  Don’t delay. Governors have the opportunity to lodge orders through Harry Durey, Secretary of the Zone 8 Institute History and Archives Committee, in time for end of year Changeover presentations.
    The quality of the book is magnificent and it is the perfect gift to reward  hard working committees.
    Harry’s contact details – 0407 005 910; or email Only 4,000 books have been printed so order now to avoid disappointed.  Advance orders have been very strong so don't delay.
    Vale - Norman Maxwell (Max) Hill OAM, MPHF
    It is with profound sadness that the Rotary Club of Canberra East recently lost a long-time member with the passing of Rotarian Norman Maxwell (Max) Hill OAM, MPHF.
    Max was an active Rotarian for over 50 years. He commenced his Rotary journey in the Rotary Club of Canberra including a term as the Club’s President. In the mid 1960’s he became a member of the then newly formed Rotary Club of Canberra East. His Rotary service interests were wide and varied and he played an active role in all Club activities and projects. Max was especially enthused by projects involving youth development and leadership, particularly the establishment of the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and the selection of suitable attendees. He was instrumental in establishing the Greenhills Centre at the Cotter Reserve close to Canberra and in fostering the Centre’s early involvement with Rotary.
    Aussie Peace Walk 2021

    The 30th Canberra Walking Festival was the Inaugural Rotary Aussie Peace Walk and was held in Canberra on the last weekend in March 2021 in a community walk for peace.

    The primary aim of those organising the walk is to encourage understanding and peaceful resolutions to life’s challenges. We also want to prevent the deaths of hundreds of children in our neighbouring Pacific Islands.

    At the Friday Night Dinner, the keynote speaker was Dr Brendan Nelson AO who shared a range of thoughts including the importance of understanding peace begins at home and before there can be peace in the world you must first have peace in your heart.

    The Aussie Peace Walk is not a race; it is a walk. This year the walk was organised with leadership from Chris Edwards and Janine Linklater with the support of their club – the Rotary Club of Hall. Many other Rotary Clubs from District 9705 added their support to make the walk a success.

    The aim is to have everyone to go on a journey together. People of all ages, and nationalities and interests. We want you to meet each other; to talk and seek to understand. It is only through taking the time to understand our fellow man, that we can reach peaceful resolutions.

    Funds raised through the Inaugural Peace Walk were dedicated to the 100 Years of Rotary Give Every Child a Future to assist in immunising children in the Pacific.

    The 2021 Walk for Peace was such a success that the organisers are already underway for 2022.

    Photo from Aussie Peacewalk Facebook Page

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